ADDRESSING ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES
Adverse Childhood Experiences are events or situations that occur during childhood and/or adolescence that traumatize a child. These include events that breach a child’s safety, security, trust or bodily integrity. In other words, any act that traumatizes a child causing him or her to live in perpetual fear and makes the child feel unsafe or violates the body of the child can be described as Adverse Childhood Experience.
EXAMPLES OF ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES
- MALTREATMENT SUCH AS ABUSE OR NEGLECT:
- Making a child to work as an adult
- Starving a child
- Imprisoning or chaining a child
- Refusing to provide basic needs of a child including love, care, education and protection
- Threatening a child causing him or her to live in fear
- Causing gross bodily harm such as cutting with a knife, blade, wire or burning a child
- VIOLENCE AND COERCION SUCH AS DOMESTIC ABUSE:
- Physical abuse such as hitting, kicking and maiming a child
- Sexual abuse such as rape
- Forcing a child to join a gang and using this child to steal, peddle drugs or snoop for information
- HOUSEHOLD OR FAMILY ADVERSITY:
- Living with a family member who is an alcoholic or drug user
- Child labour – Forcing a child to take up the responsibility of providing food, money and care for the family
- BEREAVEMENT, BREAKUP OF A MARRIAGE AND SURVIVORSHIP:
- Loss of a parent through death or divorce can expose a child to hardship and maltreatment from a step parent, guardian or employer.
- Surviving an accident can lead to disability that may cause the child to become dependent for life.
COMMON CONSEQUENCES OF ADVERSE CHILDHOOD EXPERIENCES
- Depression and other mental health issues that may lead to committing suicide.
- Violence towards others. You can only give what you have. A person brought up with so much violence, will dish violence out to others making the environment unsafe for all.
- Underage sex and unwanted pregnancy. This can either lead to more abortions, dumping or selling of babies. When the babies are kept by their mothers what quality of life will these babies receive?
- Binge drinking (which is going on a drinking spree), poor diet, smoking and drug abuse. All these can lead to stealing in order to feed the habit formed.
- Lack of concentration in formal education resulting in more drop outs and people cheating to pass exams. What will this do to our society? We will have people sitting in positions they don’t have the requisite knowledge of, which will affect services rendered, putting people’s lives at stake.
- Children who suffer Adverse Childhood Experiences can become emotionally absent and lacking in feelings and trust. These gaps in the child’s development make it difficult for him or her to BUILD PRODUCTIVE RELATIONSHIPS.
If we turn a blind eye and allow more and more children to suffer Adverse Childhood Experiences, crime level will increase and we may no longer be able to walk safely on our streets. We have the power and the machinery to lend our voices to remedying this situation and paving the way for TRUE HUMANITY to arise that will have conscience, respect and consideration for life. THIS IS NOT A FIGHT FOR ONE PERSON BUT A FIGHT FOR ALL CONCERNED MOTHERS. Remember, our children will live in this future and we cannot afford to sit back and do nothing. It behooves us mothers to bring about a future life of peace, harmony and beauty.
Written by: Lady Jane Ndukwe